Beauty For Ashes – Joy For Mourning

Isaiah 61

In our scripture text it says that God would appoint, or as the NKJV says, God would console those who mourn in Zion. There is enough of God to comfort all who mourn around the world. But his word specifically states those in Zion or those in God’s house are going to get God’s attention. And if there is anybody who I want to have their attention – it’s God. I want his eyes upon me. I want his ear tuned in to my cry. I want to be underneath the umbrella of his protection. I want to live in the secret place of the most high and abide under his feathers and under his wings.

The Bible says that he will give us beauty for ashes. In Bible times it was the custom for the people of that day to in great times of mourning and difficulty lay in ashes. Just think about that. You’ve got a problem in your life and you just sit down in a pile of ashes. There is nothing beautiful about ashes.

But the scripture says he is going to take your difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give you beauty. He is going to pick you up out of the ash pile of life and make something beautiful out of you.

You may feel like your life is ugly and insignificant right now. But sometimes things that appear ugly just need the right climate to grow. There is a species of century plant called the “Maguey”. It grows for years with great course leaves as thick as two hands put together. It’s three inches thick and very long. It puts out sharp thorns and it’s just as ugly as can be. The longer it’s alive and the more it grows, it just gets uglier all the time. But suddenly it shoots up in just a couple of days and a great shaft tall and thick begins to grow. It decks it’s spreading head with thousands of flowers and becomes a beautiful plant.

The possibility of all that fragrant beauty was always in that detestable ugliness. Just as the fragrant beauty of your life is sometimes hidden underneath the calloused ritual. It is smothered by daily schedules and monotonous grind. Sometimes painful experiences cause beauty to come forth.

Isaiah said he will give you beauty for ashes. God knew you would be burnt by life’s experiences. But he also knew he could replace that burnt out mess with something beautiful.

Oil of Joy for mourning

Oil was used to apply to the face to make the face shine, instead of mourning which disfigures the face and the countenance and makes it unlovely.
When in mourning no oil would be applied to the face so that people would know that person was in mourning.

The oil of joy is the Holy Ghost.

Like a well of living water
Joy unspeakable and full of glory

Even in hard times – JOY

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The spirit of heaviness will attempt to steal your JOY.

Without joy we have the tendency to move into self pity.

Psalm 69:20
Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

The devil wants you to feel sorry for yourself. He wants you to feel alone and depressed. But don’t let him lead you down that pathway. For the Bible says:

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Listen to what else the bible says:

Isaiah 43:1-7
1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

This is talking about a God that is concerned about you. He cares for you.